Marilyn Monroe


pen and ink, drawing, portrait, Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in pen and ink.

I’ve been practicing pen and ink portraits lately.  I find them uniquely challenging. Some I’ll post and some I won’t, but this one of Marilyn Monroe I decide to post. I’m fairly happy with it, but I didn’t nail it. I didn’t quite capture her essence the way I wanted. I liked the photo reference for the high contrast, which is conducive to pen and ink. Subtle shading is trickier than with pencil or paint. I have a tendency to overwork the piece. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve. Comments and critiques are appreciated.

I realize this isn’t as wildlifey or woodsy as what I normally do, but it’s good to mix things up. Besides, there’s people in the woods too. Although, I’ve never run into Marilyn in the woods, but that would make a heck of a blog post!

The Art Challenge, Day Five … Story Books


It’s day five! I was tagged to do the 3 pieces of art a day for 5 days, Art Challenge, by Mark Mitchell. This is the last post. The theme for today is “Story Books”, that I’ve illustrated  I put up illustrations from three different books.

I would love to give everyone a break, so I’m not tagging anybody for the Art Challenge. If you want to do it, then tell me and I’ll tag you!

The books:

Buddy, The Wayward Wolverine

Firestorm in the Forest

Buddy and the Magic Chicken Tree

The Art Challenge, Day 4 … Fur, Fins and Feathers

It’s day four! I was tagged to do the 3 pieces of art a day for 5 days, Art Challenge, by Mark Mitchell. Hey Mark, this is starting to feel like homework. The theme for today is “Fur, Fins and Feathers.”  I put up something old and something new.

I would love to see Ruth of Ruth’s Artwork do the Art Challenge. I picked Ruth because of her amazing pen and ink/watercolor, mixed media, architectural illustrations. She also does wonderful animals. She does lots of fantastic commissions. I recommend you check out her site.

Prints are available at Fine Art America.

The Art Challenge, Day Two … En Plein Aire

It’s day two! I was tagged to do the 3 pieces of art a day for 5 days, Art Challenge, by Mark Mitchell. The theme for today is “En Plein Aire.” The nuthatch is my first and only plein aire watercolor painting. Perhaps there will be more someday. The others were done over lunch while making my rounds in the woods. Just a tiny snapshots of my days. Pens are so much more portable than watercolors. I would love to see Mary at oilpastelsbymary to do the Art Challenge.

This challenge originated on Facebook, but I have moved it over to WordPress. Please check it out my new Facebook page at Tim Livingston.

The Art Challenge, Day One … Dogs

Today is day one! I was tagged to do the 3 pieces of art a day for 5 days, Art Challenge, by Mark Mitchell. The theme for today is dogs. I bet you didn’t see that coming! Tessa is the watercolor, Hunter in pen and ink, and Blitz in mixed media. These are all dogs that Mary and I have raised. For that reason I challenge MaryA Livingston to the Art Challenge.

This challenge originated on Facebook, but I have moved it over to WordPress. Incidentally, it was my first post on my brand new Facebook page, Tim Livingston on Facebook. Please check it out.

Prints are available at Fine Art America.

Testing the Waters

I’m working on a project that required a new technique. If you followed my last several posts, you’ll know what technique I’m talking about. I did a mixed media illustration in which I completed the pen and ink portion, then soaked and stretched the illustrated paper.

Test sheet, pen and ink, watercolor, watercolour

Test sheet.

I didn’t do this without testing my inks first. I took nearly every ink pen that I had available for drawing and wrote with it on a piece of watercolor paper. This included some color inks too. The refillable inks used were Platinum Carbon Black in the Yuketake Brush Pen, and the Pentel brand ink in the Pentel Brush pen. I put down the brand and type/size as my test lines. Then I soaked and stretched the paper. I dabbed off the excess water and let the paper dry. All inks came through the stretching without running. You can see the process in

I selected three watercolor brushes to use for painting over the lines. First I applied Viridian with a 1/2″ flat brush, fairly gently. No problem with running here. Next I applied Cadmium Red with a #12 round. I swirled in the paint without incident. Finally, I applied Cadmium Yellow with a stipple brush. I scrubbed it in with the stiff bristles. I fully expected the ink lines to degrade. It didn’t happen. All the pens I tested proved acceptable.

You may wonder, why not just draw it out after the paper is stretched. It’s just my preference. I like drawing detailed pen and ink on a firm surface. I also like a drawing board I can handle wherever I choose. The stretched watercolor paper is fairly firm, but I like a firmer surface for drawing. I also like having all my pencil guide lines erased before soaking. Erasing can put more pressure on the paper and I don’t like doing it on a stretched surface. Also, soaked pencil lines are very difficult to erase after they’ve been soaked and dried. Once the ink drawing is done I erase the pencil. This is why I decided to try soaking and stretching after the pen and ink was complete.

The Blackberry Foxes

Along the road to our home are blackberry brambles. In one bramble patch is the den of a family of gray foxes. Some mornings I glimpse the foxes hanging out on the road. The foxes have lived in the area for years. They’re attracted to the area for the cottontail rabbits that also live in the blackberries. They appeared in my earlier post The Fox and The Song

pen and ink, drawing, fox, gray fox

“The Vixen”    pen and ink.

The other morning, I was on my way to work. I came around the corner and surprised the fox family. There were four kits and the vixen playing in the road. When they saw me coming they scattered. Foxes were darting here and there diving into the blackberry bushes. I grabbed my camera to get a picture of the group, but they had scampered away. When I stopped in front of their blackberry patch, two of the little kits were peeking out. Before I could focus my camera they disappeared.

This brave little fox graciously pose for me.

The gray fox kit.

However, a couple of days later, I was fortunate to have one brave fox kit sitting out in front of their thicket. This little one posed graciously while I snapped a few pictures. It is always a treat to see the fox family. I just hope they stay far away from our chicken house.